An episode of ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank” that aired in November features a product developed by Dr. Sarath Malepati, an Upper St. Clair physician.
A few months later, EZC Pak is in particularly strong demand.
“The sales that we did last year, we’ve done in the first quarter of this year because of the coronavirus,” Malepati said. “It’s nothing I would have expected.”
EZC Pak is an over-the-counter supplement of organic echinacea, zinc and Vitamin C, and although it in no way purports to be any kind of a cure for COVID-19, its intended effect of helping to boost the immune system is drawing considerable attention among consumers nationally.
But even in the current environment, EZC Pak isn’t for everyone.
“If you’re inside your house and you’re not really being exposed to any sort of outside contact, there is not specifically a reason for any additional supplementation,” Malepati said. “Just live your regular life. There’s no need to go crazy with any additional usage of any sort of products.”
On the other hand, he said people may be more vulnerable to infection because of a variety of conditions – such as poor diet, long or irregular work hours, chronic health conditions and, of course, overt stress – could benefit from a boost to the immune system.
“Even though I’m not really a supplement person, by background or even by professional training, there is a role for supplementation in certain situations, where we don’t specifically have any other options or treatments,” he said.
That could apply to people who leave their homes for necessities during the COVID-19 precautionary period.
“Say I’m 70 years old. I may have diabetes, and I have to go to the grocery store. What should I do? This is a very common question I’m being asked,” Malepati said.
“As far as EZC Pak goes, what I typically recommend is to take a dose the night before. Take two doses the following day, and then another dose the following morning. And that will cover you during the period while you’re going outside for your trip,” he continued. “And if you did happen to feel some symptoms coming on, then immediately start taking the products as directed on the box, and it’s reasonable to go see your medical provider.”
His original intent for EZC Pak was to provide an alternative to antibiotics, which have no effect against viruses, but often are prescribed for people afflicted with symptoms. He worked on research and development starting in 2013, and after the product’s introduction to the market, it garnered industry Buyer’s Choice awards in consecutive years.
Along with Vitamin C, zinc and echinacea, in appropriate doses, Malepati also recommends use of another supplemental compound.
“Interestingly, Vitamin D actually has even stronger data, especially for prevention of viral illness,” he said. “In our area, it’s relatively cloudy, and so Vitamin D deficiency is a common issue in Western Pennsylvania.”
His staff is working long hours toward EZC Pak order fulfillment, and he credits delivery services with their role in getting the product to store shelves.
“We all owe a debt of gratitude to the truck drivers and the freight companies that have been so dedicated in getting things to people, to customers, to businesses, to just keep everyone going,” he said.